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ultegra gear combinations and noise(17 posts)

ultegra gear combinations and noisezeke
Nov 10, 2001 3:43 AM
Ive just purchased an airborne valkyrie with ultegra and have found that some ultegra gear cominations are noisier than expected.
ive read many places that the small chainring and the small cog shouldnt be used because of the friction created on the chain and gear. also it is noisy. but i have found not only that combination to be noisy, but the small chainring plus the next larger 2 or 3 cogs. is that normal, or is sometype of adjustment necessary? possible?
re: could be cable stretch.Akirasho
Nov 10, 2001 4:19 AM
... don't know how long you've had your new Airborne, or how many miles you might have logged, but your cables stretch over time, somewhat dependent on their use (which is why many LBS offer a free tuneup after 30 days... generally, they're just taking up a bit of slack in brake and shift cables).

These two links will allow you to systematically adjust your derailleur and cables to limit noise caused by chain rub...

Once done, you're generally set... that is, the cables won't continue to stretch. If after all this and time, you still hear noises... the problem lies elsewhere (not likely).

Good luck!

We abide.

Remain In Light.
re: could be cable stretch.zeke
Nov 10, 2001 7:25 AM
thanks for your response.
it may not be loose cables since the bike is only one day old. however, it is possible they were not tight enough to begin with. i will check the cables and also you links you have provided.
Two likely sources for your noiseMel Erickson
Nov 10, 2001 6:46 AM
You don't say where the noise is coming from exactly. Two likely sources are the rear cassette and the front derailleur. Any of the extreme combinations (small/small, big/big) will result in an angling chainline (crossing from one side to the other). This (small/small, big/big) will likely result in chain rub on the front derailleur cage and this would probably be normal. If your front derailleur is not adjusted properly this could happen when in small front and second and third smallest cogs in the rear combinations. Either adjust your front derailleur yourself (get the Zinn maintenance book) or have your LBS check and adjust.

If all is well up front you will likely get more noise from the rear cassette when in the small front and smallest three rear cogs than in most other gear combinations. Again this is because of chain deflection/angle. You could again have the LBS check it out for unusual noise and if they feel it's greater than normal have them diagnose the problem. It could be anything from a misaligned frame to a faulty cassette. My guess, with my extraordinary ability to diagnose through tiny copper wires over hundreds or even thousands of miles, is that the noise is probably normal or a front derailleur adjustment problem. One more thing, is your chain properly lubed?
Two likely sources for your noisezeke
Nov 10, 2001 7:23 AM
thank you for your response.
the noise is coming from the front, either the front derailleur or the chain rubbing against one of the chainrings.
i will check the adjustment of the front derailleur.
(btw, what is the title of the zinn maintenance book?)

chain properly lubed? hmm. not sure, the bike is one day old, and the lube on the chain seems thicker than i expected. i will add some chain lube tomorrow and see.
thanks again.
Two likely sources for your noiseLone Gunman
Nov 10, 2001 8:55 AM
Do you have a trim adjustment for your front derail? A half click shift that moves the FD just far enough to avoid rub of the chain on the cage. Alot of people don't know about this feature and think they have a maladjusted FD. Chain should not need lubed, the thick lube on there is factory stuff.
Two likely sources for your noisezeke
Nov 14, 2001 4:22 AM
yes i do have a trim adjustment. its an ultegra grouppo.
i will try this my next time out.
thanks for the info.
Zinn and the Art of Road Bike MaintenanceMel Erickson
Nov 10, 2001 9:25 AM
Here's the link to
Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenancezeke
Nov 14, 2001 4:23 AM
thank you.
Clean your chain offspookyload
Nov 10, 2001 10:16 AM
When chains are shipped they use a very heavy wax based protectant to keep chains from drying up in the package. You should clean this off with simple green or another chain cleaning fluid, then add the lube of your choice. You are right, that is very thick and not a good lubricant.
Clean your chain offzeke
Nov 14, 2001 4:23 AM
good information. thank you. will do!
re: ultegra gear combinations and noisegrandpa_m
Nov 10, 2001 10:25 AM
I know this has been addressed before but I'll mention
it anyway because my drivetrain has this problem which
was called normal in the small to small combination.
If you are in small to small follow the chain off of
the back of the small chainring as it passes the inside
of the big chainring. The chain could be rubbing on the
inside of the big ring. This has been called a normal
situation in other forums when using this combination.
Its also possible that it could still be rubbing when
shifting to the next two cogs up. Other forums mentioned
remedies which included spacers, but what I do is just
shift to the big gear before I get to that point. Good
re: ultegra gear combinations and noisezeke
Nov 14, 2001 4:25 AM
ive been told the same, but that seemed like a comprimise, so i am, or rather was looking for other (adjustment) solutions. but it seems in the small small combination i will just have to change gears!
re: ultegra gear combinations and noiseRich Clark
Nov 10, 2001 2:59 PM
Is this a triple? It's not unusual to get some rub between the inside chainring on a triple and the smallest 2 or 3 cogs on a 9-speed cassette. Generally, if you're past the middle of the cassette it's time to get onto a bigger ring.

It's also not unusual for the barrel adjusters to turn by themselves on an Airborne, reducing cable tension, especially on the FD side. There's not much friction between the plastic adjuster and the ti cable guide, and if there's not enough tension on the spring inside, the adjuster will loosen by itself just from jouncing. Try placing a small mark (tape or something removable) at 12 o'clock on the adjuster and watch it to see if it moves over the course of a few miles.

The fix for this involves disconnecting the cable, pulling out the spring, and stretching the spring out to increase its force. They recommend that if you're uncomfortable doing this yourself you can have the LBS where you spend your $25 "tune-up credit" do it.

Personally, on my Ultegra triple, I avoid the outside 4 cogs with the small ring, the inside 4 with the big ring, and the ouside 2 and inside 2 with the middle. It just seems to me that training myself to shift so as to keep the chain as straight as possible will put less wear and stress on everything.

re: ultegra gear combinations and noisezeke
Nov 14, 2001 4:28 AM
its a triple, yes.
the rub is on the FD, so i thought it might be adjustable.
i will check the barrel adjustment also. i heard about this problem on another forum.
i try to avoid those combinations also, but i just want to be sure that the front and rear derailleurs are adjusted as best as possible.
re: ultegra gear combinations and noiseLLSmith
Nov 11, 2001 4:28 AM
On the Ultegra double small chain ring your chain will rub on the large chain ring while on the two smallest cogs. Dont think there is anything you can do to stop this. I never use the smallest cog, but will use the next cog up for short periods of time.The noise should only be real bad while on the smallest cog.As mentioned above your left shifter has a built in trim function to actually move the front derailer towards the big chain ring about 1/8 inch. This will stop the derailer itself from rubbing on the chain.While standing over the bike lightly push the outside left lever to the right. It will click and lock in when the adjustment is complete.
re: ultegra gear combinations and noisezeke
Nov 14, 2001 4:31 AM
thanks for the advice. will try.
the advice from all seems consistent. i will get back to this forum in a couple of days with the results.

i will also post a new message dealing with the 'problem' i am having shifting the chainring from middle size to the small size.